Risk-based triage can help radiologists prioritize mammograms during emergencies

Radiology departments continue to face challenges arising from the pandemic, including image lag, reduced staff, and work within safety protocols. But new research suggests that using a risk-based approach to triage exams can help practices cope in these emergencies.

A study released just last week found that organizations quickly adjusted to re-establish cancer imaging during the peak of the pandemic, but screening rates for services like mammography continued to fall sharply by about 96%. And some experts say this drop may have missed up to 1,400 cancers in just one facility.

The authors of a study published Thursday suggested that their risk-based algorithm, which includes clinical indications, breast symptoms, history and age of cancer, may have mitigated some of these early challenges for radiologists.

In fact, after analyzing nearly 2 million mammograms from more than 90 radiology centers, the group found that 12% of examinations with “very high” and “high” cancer detection rates account for more than half of all cancers. And 44% of mammograms with a “very low” detection rate accounted for just over 10% of all illnesses, they explained on March 25. JAMA network open.

“This means that triage of people most likely to have cancer during periods of reduced capacity could be effective in detecting most cancers with the least mammography compared to a risk-free approach,” said Dr. Diana L. Miglioretti, professor and head of the Department’s Biostatistics Department. for Public Health Sciences UC Davis, the statement said.